A pair of ancient stone artifacts were said to have been found in the stomach of a 750-pound alligator in Mississippi, leading to some far-fetched theories on social media.
This includes discussions that the alligator itself is ancient – and questions about “who” it ate only to end up with Native American tools in its digestive system.
The discovery was made this month when hunter John Hamilton of White Oak, Mississippi took a freshly harvested alligator to process at Red Antler Processing in Yazoo City.
“We cut a few big alligators to see what was in their stomachs. So far everyone has had something cool, ”Red Antler Processing wrote on Facebook September 2. “The 13ft 5in gator brought by John Hamilton today produced the shock of the year!”
Inside there were two stones that turned out to be a broken arrowhead and a sinker, which is a type of fishing weight used by Native Americans, according to historians. Both artifacts come from different parts of the Archaic Period, which ranges from 10,000 to 3,000 years ago, according to experts.
“It was just disbelief,” treatment owner Shane Smith told the Clarion Ledger on Thursday. “Your first thought is that he ate (a Native American) or (a Native American) shot him in the stomach. … I’m probably the only person on Earth to have pulled an arrowhead out of an alligator’s belly.
The artifacts were found among “lots of fish bones and scales, feathers, hairballs, persimmon seeds … pieces of wood and lots of stinky bile fluids that burn your skin,” said the plant.
News of the discovery comes five months after a wild game processing plant in South Carolina found undigested tags from five dog collars in an alligator, according to McClatchy News. The alligator also had “a bulletproof jacket, a spark plug, piles of turtle shells and several bobcat claws” in its stomach.
Some social media commentators laughed at the idea that ancient artifacts were inside an alligator, including a guy who joked Tinkerbell was also found in the alligator’s stomach.
“Of course… an artifact thousands of years old is inside an alligator. Lol, ”wrote one guy.
“100% BS,” said another.
Experts say it’s entirely possible, however, noting that alligators have been known to swallow all kinds of things when hunting and swallowing in shallow water.
“You can imagine this material eroding from an archaeological site on the shore. (It) wouldn’t be any different from gravel for an alligator, ”according to James Starnes, director of surface geology for the Mississippi Office of Geology.
“It’s a pellet and a broken bullet point: common things you find at sites in the Mississippi Delta area.” Especially along the shores of … dead lakes and bayous.
The broken arrowhead in the photo is likely Early to Middle Archaic (5,000-10,000 years ago), Starnes told McClatchy News. As for lead, it has a “very unusual shape,” but it may date from the Late Archaic (5,000 to 3,000 years ago), he says.
Red Antler Processing returned the two artifacts to Hamilton, who called it the “hunt of a lifetime” in a Facebook post.